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For an ambitious King, his army is the reflection of his aspirations; greater the army, better the chances for his conquests and when in n...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Demonical Province (Contd.)

In our quest for truth, from Ramayan's perspective, we learned about the demons of the Dandkaranya. Today we shall move a step further by knowing more about them. Let's continue:
  • Mareech: Yes, Mareech is back. The same rakshas whom Shri Ram deported towards south while protecting Vishwamitra's yagya. His next crucial part came later in the story when Raavarn approached him in order to help him for Devi Sita's abduction. He was the son of Tadka [read:http://srirom.blogspot.in/2015/08/a-cursed-yakshini.html], that means like her mother, he was a yaksh too, but his deeds delivered him to such situation, where he was cursed by sage Agastya and he was transformed into a rakshas. He was blessed with a boon where no dev could kill him and that's why Vishwamitra brought Shri Ram for help. There is a popular conception going in the air, that being; Mareech and Subahu were brothers, the former had a change of heart after Tadka was eliminated by Shri Ram and left for a better and blessed life. Well, Subahu was his ally, not brother; Mareech remained the menace and continued to torment the beings with his mystical powers. When Shri Ram reached Dandkaranya, the rakshas recalled his humiliation and attacked Shri Ram in a giant reindeer's form with other demons. Shri Ram shot arrows and again killed the others but spared him. This was the moment when Mareech actually transformed, he gave up all his evils and started penancing. Now he knew that Shri Ram wasn't any normal being but a divine entity. When Raavarn came to him, he tried his best to convince the demon king to not mess with Shri Ram, but failed. He realized that this was the moment Shri Ram spared him for. He was the pawn all this time that Shri Ram had placed in the Dandkaranya, contrary to the beliefs that he came here himself or Raavarn employed him there. And in the end, with a classical display of theatrics by Devi Sita, their ploy processed successfully.
  • Kaabandh: He is considered or remembered as one of the strangest and weirdest demon ever heard. A handsome dev who used to scare the beings while roaming in the forests disguising in scary appearances. A sage named Sthoolshira cursed him to remain in that particular guise forever. Scared, the former begged the sage for mercy. The sage then opened a way for his redemption; he told him that one day Shri Ram along with Lakshmarn will arrive the place, they will cut of his arms and he would be redeemed. Still, the demon wasn't as weird in appearance the way we know. Later, he challenged Indra for a duel, the dev-king unleashed his 'vajra' upon him, due to the assault, his face and legs merged in his torso.
{Image Source: Painting on ceiling of temple in Ayodhyapattinam, approx. 16th century}
The demon plead Indra to sought a way for his sustenance. Indra knew about the curse and redemption, he therefore created a mouth in his stomach and enlarged his arms by a yojan. Finally, after Devi Sita was abducted, when Shri Ram and Lakshmarn were roaming, looking for her, he confronted them and achieved his destiny. He gained his previous form and enlightened the princes about Shabri as well as Sugreeve; who proved to be helpful in Shri Ram's efforts in finding Devi Sita and Raavarn's annihilation.
Well that was it, if we wrap up the posts(the demonical province series), we can easily come out with some enlightening facts; contrary to the widely spread theory, there was never partiality among the beings, dharm does not allowed that. Devas were never favored by the Gods or the sages, but were equally rewarded or punished for their deeds. Viraadh and Kabandh, both were neither rakshasas nor daityas or daanavs, yet got cursed for their bad karma.
I have said it earlier and say it again; rakshasas, daityas, daanavs were pretty much normal in appearance like the humans and devs, it was there conduct and routines that made them slightly different, but such horrific descriptions(Mareech, Viraadh, Kabandh) were due to the curse they received. One may ask, if all were almost similar in appearances then why the beings were cursed to become a rakshas only. Answer; among all the beings, the conduct of raksahsas was pretty much brute and barbaric, many of them were even cannibals.

History has always been a subject of utter-eagerness to us. Call it mythology, call it pauranik or rather ancient legends, our past; in spite of being happened, has put us in a perplex. We are so confused about our actual history that we prefer to rubbish it, that being an easier option. The reason; corruption of facts and figures done by the foreign intruders; these gentlemen were actually insecure and pretty much victimized by inferiority complex, that they made no stone unturned in disfiguring the grandness of our actual legends.
With no support from the authorities, we feel stupid/embarrassed on mentioning of our scriptures, why; because we are unaware about our basis, our roots. We know what happened, but why and how, we don't know. And that is how we became the nation of snake-charmers and superstitions.
You reason.
"Dharm is parity, it is we who corrupt it in our ignorance"
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Friday, January 22, 2016

The Demonical province

‘You need to pack your bags; you are discarded from the royalty. Any pleasure or exotica is forbidden for you till the next intimation. With immediate effect you need to leave next morning for Maangadh hills. You will stay low profile, work there as a normal worker until you are contacted. Till then, your brother will take care of the empire. Sorry son!’
Imagine if your parent has such shocker ready for you, that too when you are taking a big step in your carrier.  What would you have done in such case, how your gang of emotions would be doing to keep you calm or may be crazy. When you will know that your mother is behind this entire trauma, how would you deal with it? Okay I understand no loving mother does that to her child, but then Kaikeyi was too a loving mother (so what if step, she loved Shri Ram more than Bharat). God bless the internet :p, otherwise we would have gone insane in such boring worker’s life, ain’t that true huh.
Now you will ask, on those times how Shri Ram did survived those fourteeeeeen long years, with no profile designated, what he did for 14 years to keep himself engaged. Simple, he lived his exile making himself strong spiritually. Guided by Sage Atri and his own will, he stayed in the company of acclaimed saints. In the initial 13 years of exile, Shri Ram roamed the whole Dandkaranya region, meeting the saints, promoting parity among different classes spreading the essence of dharm and eliminating the demons that were corrupting the environment and tormenting the sages. In order to install equality with equity, he delivered the values of Aryavart among all the classes and beings uprooting faulty values and beliefs those were spread by the rakshasas.
Who were those demons, their origins, their deeds, were they demons in actual? Let’s know them:
  • Viraadh: After entering the dandkaranya, he was the first demon who confronted Shri Ram. Massive in size, the carnivorous rakshas attacked both Shri Ram and Lakshmarn and when failed to harm them, caught Devi Sita. Both princes attacked the demon, he was harmed but couldn't be eliminated due to a boon he received from Brahmm dev, he could only be eliminated by burying underground. Soon the demon realized the divinity of Shri Ram(he being the demon's redeemer). In actual, he was a Gandharv who was cursed by Kuber. The latter told him that Shri Ram will redeem him from the curse. Hence, he told Shri Ram the way to liberate him.

{Image Courtesy: Peter Mohrbacher}

Shurpnakha: Raavarn's sister, this age old enchantress was a powerful rakshasi who fell head over heels(lustful) with the first site of Shri Ram. She disguised as an attractive woman and approached him, but was ignored by Shri Ram and later Lakshmarn. Driven crazy by her lust, she attacked Devi Sita. Lakshmarn disfigured her by cutting her ears and nose. [read: http://srirom.blogspot.in/2015/06/shurpnakha-failed-enchantment.html]
{Image Courtesy: Lunafabula}

  • Khar: The uncrowned king, Raavarn's cousin and his best man to guard(to be straight - obtrusion) Dandkaranya, as well as keep an eye on the activities of Aryavart. He was the one responsible for the vandalism over the innocent saints and other beings as well as the ravaged situations of that region disuniting the kingdoms of southern from others. [read: http://srirom.blogspot.in/2015/06/the-uncrowned-king-khar.html]
                                  {Image Courtesy: Deviantart}
We will continue this to the next post.
"Revisiting the legends sometimes opens new layers "

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Magnificence of Dandkaranya

The region of Dandkaranya had always been synonymous to mystery that was hidden underneath the crust of dark and dense woods. This cursed land was always avoided by the kings of Aryavart as well as the king of other regions to safeguard them and their people form misfortune. When Shri Ram expressed his urge to visit the region, sage Atri warned him about the probable dangers that may confront him. Being aware of his divinity and the divine purpose, he provided a helping hand that later proved to be in welfare for the world.

When Shri Ram entered the Dandkaranya with Devi Sita and Lakshmarn; they were left spellbound with the amazing site as if they have arrived in some other realm. The place was teeming with the divine and amazing aura of the sages just like the solar arena shining at outer space; they had earned the brahmmvidya(divine knowledge) through disciplined approach and meditation.
Those groups of hermitages gave shelter to all kinds of beings, there premises were clean and tidy, there was a collective presence of wild animals and flocks of different species of birds. The place was filled with nature’s heritage, regular yagyas and ritual sounds had created enchanting surroundings. Beautiful flowers; rose, lotus and so many, used to enhance the exquisiteness and grace of that place.

The sages were amused to see all three of them with such charm and grace as being forest dwellers it was quiet unnatural for them. Shri Ram introduced him to the sages; as they came to know about him, their souls were filled with new hopes. So far these sages were tormented by the evil rakshasas. Being non-violent and highly tolerant they were unable to defend theirselves, resulting in genocide of those sages.
They joined their palms, ‘hey Raghunandan, this whole Earth comes under Suryavanshees’ sovereignty and here, you are their representative. As you are here in this Dandkaranya, we request you to be aware as well as protect us from these demons and reinstall justice. We have won our anger and other senses; hence we have stopped punishing the offenders, now tapascharya is our only asset.’
{Valmiki Ramayan; Aranya Kaand; Chapter 1; Verse: 18-21}

We can here infer from the above stated about the firmness of character shown by the sages, they were being hunted, slaughtered, yet, they never gave in, never used their tapascharya/ascetic powers for violence.
Shri Ram was well aware of the gravity of the situation, it was the only reason he chose Dandkaranya as his destination. The rakshasas under Raavarn’s shelter had based in the forest regions of the Dandkaranya and were endorsing unethical practices along with tormenting the sages. While preparing for the exile, Shri Ram also prepared himself strategizing as to how he would approach this region. The persecution of the rakshasas was well known. It was time for him to execute the very motive of his incarnation as well as installing dharm and expanding the ambits of Aryavart for the world’s benefit with the elimination of Raavarn.
You must be wandering how come a cursed, haunted place be so enthralling. Yes a curse has it's dreading effect, but when dharm enters there, a wave of change powered by truthfulness and sanctity does wonders. After the place went desolated, for years no being dared to enter or habitat at this place, the civilized province transformed into jungles. It was then the saints of those times settled there due to the natural abundance, there wasn't any interference of any being be it humans or asurs or any. A recluse saint wants peace and that is what they found in the Dandkaranya, it was an ideal haven for the sages who were not into preaching but only penancing to the almighty, though they always welcomed if anyone approached them and that is how the place became divine.
Later, when Raavarn appointed Khar there, the situations changed.

Yes, the place again became dreadful due to the rakshasas, yet, it were the saints' presence that preserved the holiness of the land; reminds me the story of Ahilya, the cursed woman who was emancipated by Shri Ram. I bow to the holy land of Maharashtra, since those times, there have been numerous saints those have directed mankind towards the right path. Saint Gyaneshwar, Tukaram, Eknaath, Sai Baba of Shirdi and many who originated from this land.

"A pious mind is unaffected by curse/misfortune, it in fact has the power to cleanse/to redeem"


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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Dandkaranya Aarambh

A very happy and hopeful 2016 to all you lovely people. May the almighty bless us with sanity and sensibility in order to make this world a better place to breathe in.
I too am hopeful this year doing wonders for me as my maiden book will be out soon :), I look forward to your blessings and support for my endeavor.

We will keep our exploration on with regards to the legends associated with Ramayan with an effort to answer every single question or misconception that had been raised from time to time. I have blogged at times posts that have helped in drawing a truer picture of Shri Ram countering to the "myths" those been hyped time and again. As I always say, whether you see or listen, think rational understanding the essence of it, getting to the core of it. We also gained cognizance to our amazingly unbound civilization that had gone out of our acquaintance due to our ignorance. Ignorance that was caused by the avoidance by accepting the well marketed flawed versions of the foreign rulers who ruled our countries for centuries. They were so brilliant in their strategic efforts that we still believe(alas, even a cluster of politicians and intellectuals) the Aryan theory, give me a break.  
I am grateful to our scriptures; the Vaidas, other holy books and Valmiki Ramayan(in my case) that makes us aware as well as proud of our very roots, roots that blossomed the whole Earth.

I have also received messages to throw light on other characters viz., Sumitra, Shatrughn and above all Devi Sita. First of all, thanks for your messages people, with time, I will be posting about every character, big or small, that had played important role in Ramayan. As I have said earlier, we must be open to every aspect of a particular legend, only then we would be able to reason the occurrences.

My last blog-post concluded the exile chronicles where we got to know the absence of any grudges or foul play with regards to Bharat and Shri Ram and now we understand how it all happened. Now, we will be moving forward from there.

In Ramayan, Dandkaranya was one strategic point that triggered the set of events that led to Raavarn's end. What does this word imply, well it's a fusion of two words; Dandak and Aranya. Where Aranya means forest area, Dandak is defined as punishment or punisher. Curious! one ought to be; a legend goes behind it as once this area came under the domain of Survanshees, but a curse caused desolation and cut off the area from Aryavart. We will surely learn about it in one of my forthcoming posts when we will discuss the geographies, for now I can tell you that a big region of Maharashtra and a small region of Madhya Pradesh fell under this area(in today's course). Later the rakshasas inhabited this place under Raavarn's ruling.
Shri Ram was aware of the above and after Bharat left he was looking for an opportunity. In the meanwhile, there was a huge relocation that took place among the sages those were residing in Chitrakoot. Shri Ram got to know from them about an evil entity(read : http://srirom.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-uncrowned-king-khar.html) who was responsible for their misery, they further told him that it was a regular thing to change places as being in one place for longer might end up in their destruction. They were hunted and killed by the rakshasas and hence suggested him to move too as the rakshasas looked at him as a threat, especially after he eliminated Tadka and Subahu.
Living in Chitrakoot never did any good even to Shri Ram after Bharat and the whole royal family left. The nostalgia never let him be at ease. He took this opportunity and decided to consult sage Atri for an ideal place before entering the Dandkaranya. The renowned sage not only guide them for the dreadful region but later acquainted him to a divine persona who after Vishwamitra, endowed him with divine weapons that helped him in his endeavors.
Before signing of, let me brief you about sage Atri and his wife Sati Anusuya. Sage Atri was a revered sage of those times who was respected by the devas also. Sati Anusuya(sati: an ideal wife) was a remarkable lady, who once penanced for years to end a drought in her region. Her glory surpassed to Atri's with respect to her deeds. She is the mother of Bhagwan Dattatreya and sage Durvasa. Still if someone thinks that women were inferior in those times, can't help it.

"It all starts from one place, and then history follows you"

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